Entrepreneur Of The Year 2009
Road to Palm Springs
Immigrant Philip Maung arrived in Los Angeles in the early 1990s with $13 in his pocket and the dream of creating his own business. That dream was derailed for a time when he entered the real estate business at the worst possible time. But it came back on track in 1998, when Maung and his wife started their own sushi business, Hissho Sushi, on their dining room table in Charlotte, N.C., and opened their first location.
As a child in Burma, Maung had spent his after-school hours working in a food business run by his parents, sometimes up to 10 p.m. Forced out of medical school after less than a year by a Burmese law that prevented ethnic Chinese from enrolling, he vowed to seek his fortune in the US.
Hissho, translated, means “certain victory,” an apt name for a company that now ships fresh sushi products daily to more than 300 sushi bars, upscale supermarkets and other food service channels in 22 states. Headquartered in a 46,000-foot facility, the company seeks to differentiate itself by providing a high-end product and excellent service and by continually finding ways to improve its product.
Coming off a record year, Maung is exploring ways to expand into Europe and to form penetrate new markets through strategic alliances.